window seat in colonial revival home
Photo: Tria Giovan
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Homeowner's DIY Tips

As a seasoned DIYer who knows his way around a lumberyard, homeowner Jim Zembruski also knows a thing or two about serving as his own general contractor. Here, he shares some of his hard-earned wisdom.

1. Do your homework. "Before you hire a subcontractor, learn as much as you can about what's involved, including each step, the cost of materials, and the time required. One plumber told me he wanted $1,000 for flexible tubing—that's crazy. The more you understand, the better you can communicate. I picked up a lot by watching the instructional videos at”

Shown: Jim improved the original second-floor window seat by lining it with cedar.
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